INDIA. Mumbai: A Thane-based engineering college, is being accused of collecting excess fees from the students in violation of the regulations prescribed by the Fee Regulatory Authority (FRA), Maharashtra.
The Alamuri Ratnamala Institute of Engineering and Technology (ARMIET), run by Koti Vidya Charitable Trust, located at Shahapur in Thane district, has been allegedly collecting Rs 10,000 to Rs 15000 per student per year, in addition to the tuition fees approved by the FRA.
Speaking to the Transcontinental Times, Prof. Vaibhav Narawade, President, of the Mumbai University and College Teachers Association and a Senate Member of the University of Mumbai, said that this is an educational scam. The students of this institution have been paying the excess fees demanded by the college for a long time. They recently discovered that the excess fee was being collected illegally.
“Even after the Directorate of Technical Education (DTE), Maharashtra advised the FRA to take action in this regard, the authority has been deliberately avoiding action against the college, and in fact, the authority is in collusion with the college,” Narawade alleged.
“The college is interested only in making a huge profit from the fees collected from the students, and it is playing with their future,” he added.
“The organization has also cheated the government by submitting false information in its audit report. Even the Social Welfare and Tribal Development Department, has not taken any action against this college, despite pointing out its ‘misdeeds’. The college has been running on its premises without the occupancy certificate from local authorities. The All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE) officials are also trying to suppress the matter,” Narawade alleged.
As per the information provided by activist Ganesh Gopal Govekar, the college annually enrolls over 1600 students. Since, the college has been functioning since 2008, the number of students duped into paying extra fees runs into the thousands. The authorized annual fee per student per annum is Rs. 30,000 to Rs. 40,000. However, additional fees of Rs 10,000 to Rs 15,000 have been collected unofficially from students for the last several years, he added.
Pramod Naik, joint director of technical education, in a letter dated December 8, 2022, had advised the FRA to take necessary action against the college given the allegations of the excess fees charged. However, the FRA is yet to take action.
Speaking to the Transcontinental Times, a spokesman for FRA said that the matter is being studied and action will be taken based on the inquiry. The question will be looked into after the students and their parents have been asked what they think. Our committee comprises a retired judge and experts from different fields, he added. However, Narawade said that it is quite clear that usually, the parents are reluctant to register their opinion in such matters. As such, the FRA’s move is nothing but an attempt to delay the matter.
When contacted, Alamuri Venkateshwara Gupta, Chairman of Koti Vidya Charitable Trust, did not respond to the telephone call made and a WhatsApp message sent.
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